Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett opened his Carroll office in Westminster Friday and told residents he opposes family leave and gays in the military.
The freshman Republican from Frederick said his experience in Washington has been "very interesting" so far, but, "It would be more rewarding if we could be of more help to Americans."
About 30 people, including about half a dozen Republican
attended the opening of Mr. Bartlett's office in Suite 110 of the Winchester Exchange building at 15 E. Main St.
Mr. Bartlett told them he believes that openly gay people should not serve in the military because they hurt the country's ability to form a cohesive fighting force.
"We do not need to make it a moral issue," he said.
People deemed too old, too young, too tall, too short or too fat are not allowed to serve, he said.
Mr. Bartlett said a person should not be asked whether he or she is gay upon enlistment. But if the military later learns a person is homosexual, he or she should be asked to leave, Mr. Bartlett said.
About 90 percent of the constituents who called Mr. Bartlett's office about the issue opposed gays in the military, his wife, Ellen, said.
Mr. Bartlett also said he opposes the family leave legislation adopted last week because it is "an attempt to mandate prosperity."
The new law guarantees workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or a family illness. Companies with fewer than 50 workers are exempt.
Some businesses cannot afford the leave, Mr. Bartlett said.
Retired teacher Nancy Stocksdale of Westminster is running Mr. Bartlett's local office, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Mrs. Stocksdale, who retired last month after 33 1/2 years in Baltimore County schools, is active in local Republican Party activities.
She is a member and past chairwoman of Carroll's Republican Central Committee, past president of the Carroll County
Republican Club and president of the Republican Women's Club of Carroll County.
She handles constituents' inquiries for Mr. Bartlett in Carroll and represents him at community events. Her office phone number is 857-1115.
Mrs. Stocksdale said she is working to establish a student intern program through Western Maryland College so that political science students could earn three hours of college credit for working 120 hours a semester in Mr. Bartlett's office.
She said she also hopes to speak at local high schools about government and the job of Congress.
Local Republicans munching on elephant-shaped cookies and red punch at a reception in Mr. Bartlett's office Friday included Carroll Commissioner Donald I. Dell, state Sen. Larry Haines, State's Attorney Thomas Hickman and Sheriff John Brown.